In my first blog at the Jerusalem Post, I wrote about anti-Semitism that I encountered and the disappointing response of my colleagues-- "be strong" and "it'll pass." When faced with the opportunity to take action against bullying and discrimination against Jews, my friends who call themselves "human rights activists" told me instead to "wait it out" and told themselves that anti-Semitism was not worth their time. 

Yet, when Jews and non-Jews alike were donning kippot in solidarity with French Jews, they did nothing.

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When the last Syrian Jews left Aleppo, they did nothing.

When the last Yemeni Jews were struggling for their heritage, religion and culture, they did nothing.

When an Italian Jew was stabbed in the street for no crime other than his religion, they did nothing.

When vandals ravaged New York synagogues, they did nothing.

When a girl at my school was told that "this party is not for Jews," they did nothing, and the girl quietly left the school.

Raucous cries to end racism drown out the hypocrisy inherent in these activists' indifference to anti-Semitism. I have seen campaigns-- some even by Jewish groups-- to end Islamophobia, to end police brutality, to end discrimination against women-- but it is decidedly rare that I see any campaigns that fight against anti-Semitism.

Henry Kissinger, upon liberating Ahlem, wrote a short manuscript called "The Eternal Jew," in which he wrote to a Jew named Folek Sama (to whom he announced his liberation) that "humanity stands accused in you. I, Joe Smith, human dignity, everybody has failed you..... yet, Folek, you are still human. You stand before me and tears run down your cheek. Hysterical sobbing follows. Go ahead and cry, Folek Sama, because your tears testify to your humanity, because they will be absorbed in this cursed soil, dedicating it. As long as conscience exists as a conception in this world, you will personify it. Nothing done for you will ever restore you. You are eternal in this respect."

And seventy years later, where has that Joe Smith, that human dignity gone? Has conscience ceased to exist as a conception? Does the world cry for all violations but those of the rights of Jews? Am I, are you, is Folek Sama no longer human, and no longer worthy of the defense of his, of our humanity?

I can answer none of these questions, yet I live with their consequences as the Joe Smiths of the world deem my struggles as a Jew insignificant and undeserving of anyone's time. And perhaps my own middle-class American struggles are indeed unworthy, but I wonder if the struggles of the 40% of France's Jewish population who are considering aliyah because of racism and discrimination are also unworthy of attention. 

The human-rights world now has the chance to once again take responsibility for the "Eternal Jew," yet denies itself that opportunity. Its leaders think will be neither an original initiative nor an worthwhile campaign-- it will just take their time away from other more important affairs. So many self-proclaimed activists care much about important causes such as gender equality and racial discrimination, but pay little mind to anti-Semitism, which, even in the eyes of many Jews, has ceased to exist.

And now that Folek Sama is dead and many of his generation are dying, perhaps the case for the ongoing fight against anti-Semitism is dying too. We no longer have the constant reminder of parents, of grandparents, of aunts, of uncles to tell us of their suffering and of our duty of "never again."

But that duty cannot be shirked-- nor can we convince ourselves otherwise. Because as long as we try, we must bear the tears of Folek Sama.





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